Service Design Academy

The Cost of Crisis

The cost to business of having to address poor customer service shows how important the quality of the experience is – it’s not just the product or price, the actual service experience really matters.

Nothing stands still, as the last few months have abundantly demonstrated. With the resignation of the Prime Minister, an increasingly turbulent business environment and the cost-of-living crisis, there is a prevailing sense of flux and uncertainty.

If we reflect on recent news events, there has been a series of very public and serious service failures. Whether it’s chaos at Heathrow, disruption on our public transport networks, reports of late or cancelled deliveries, patients waiting years to be discharged from hospitals, fire services unable to answers all their calls or hosepipe bans and drought – it is evident that service provisions are being pushed close to breaking point in several sectors across the UK economy.

This links closely to the results of the July 2022 UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) – a national benchmark of customer satisfaction covering 13 sectors and based on 45,000 customer responses. 17.3% of customers experienced a problem with an organisation, the highest level ever recorded in the UKCSI.

The cost to business of having to address poor customer service is an astounding £9.2bn per month. This shows how important the quality of the experience is – not just the product or price. The actual service experience really matters, as household and business budgets become more squeezed.

These issues have been building for some time. A well-worn phrase, but 100% true is: “the definition of madness is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results”. Yet some organisations are stuck in the status quo – continually aiming to treat the basic problems in the same way and hoping for a different outcome.

Despite these chaotic times those who stay true to their customer service principles will weather the storm and position themselves as leaders in their fields.

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The reality is, with over £9bn in staff time wasted every month handling customer complaints – the business case for investing in service has already been made. Instead of cutting back, now is the time to be truly considering our long-term people and service strategies.

We can address these issues by investing in the right type of technology and people, but it is not one at the expense of the other. By undertaking the right training and development to ensure staff feel genuinely connected to the purpose of the organisation and able to act to improve the customer experience, organisations can not only enjoy better employee engagement and improved customer satisfaction, but also considerable productivity savings.

The summer months have given the team as SDA a chance to stop, reflect, and focus. It’s been our time for a re-set and re-think; genuinely adopting new and creative solutions and seeing service failures as an opportunity to learn strategically. From the challenges faced by our learners and customers, we’ve been discussing the importance of getting things right first time and of course the law of unintended consequences which can impact us all.

In planning our 22/23 training and education offering, we’ve been listening to our learners and customers through 121 meetings, calls, and feedback surveys. From this we are developing a streamlined, scheduled, and customised offering fit for the challenges and opportunities they’ll meet.

Our customers recognise that having a skilled workforce in these tough times to design services with the user at the heart will lead to satisfied customers and more efficiencies. This is reflected in growing demand with our Professional Development Award (PDA) selling out for August and new courses now being advertised for October 22 and January 23.

Find out more in our PDA Course Page

Does your organisation need a strategic pathway for growth and innovation, with service design as the foundation? Or do you need support yourself, as an aspiring or developing service designer, to drive the change needed?

Get in touch to arrange a chat. We’d love to help.

Contact info@sda.ac.uk

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